It’s over – another post ‘released’ into the wild – there’s nothing more you can do except sit back, see how people like it and start on your next post…. or is there?
Instead of seeing the moment of publishing a post as the end point in the posting cycle of a post – I see it as the birthing moment of a post. The work has only just begun and what you do in the minutes and hours after it goes live can exponentially increase the effectiveness of the post!
Original Image by Elephi Pelephi
Today I want to talk about promoting your blog posts.
A lot is written about promoting and marketing blogs (as a whole) but I’ve found looking at ‘promotion’ on a more micro level (at a post by post level) can be a highly effective strategy.
Having hit publish on your post – don’t just leave it to chance that your post will be read by people. Giving it a few strategic ‘nudges’ can increase the exposure it gets exponentially.
Let me describe a few post promotion activities that I engage in.
note: I don’t use all of these techniques on every post but instead see them as a variety of tools that sit in my blog promotion toolbox and pull out different ones on different posts depending how suitable they are.
13 Ways to Promote Your Next Blog Post
1. Pitching Other Bloggers
One of the most effective ways of getting the word out about a new post is to let other bloggers know about it. There isn’t much more powerful a way to find new readers than another blogger recommending something you’ve written to people who trust them.
Getting other bloggers to link to your posts is not always easy though – particularly in the early days of a blog or if you don’t have some sort of profile or pre-existing relationship with the bloggers that you’re pitching. However it isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips on how to pitch your posts to other blogs:
- Relevancy is key - don’t pitch stories to other bloggers that have little or no relevance to their blog. You’ll just be wasting their time and yours.
- Only pitch your best posts - you will have a much higher success rate at getting a link if you only do it with your best stuff. I would only ever do this with around 1-2% of my posts.
- Give them an angle – don’t just shoot the link over – tell the blogger what the story is about and why it might be relevant to their blog. Save them a little work by showing how the post might be interesting to their readers.
- Keep it brief – if the blogger wants lots of details about your post they’ll click the link. Be to the point, communicate what you need to say and then let the blogger get on with their day.
- Be polite – don’t assume you’ll get the link or insist that they link to you – make the suggestion and let the blogger decide if it’s relevant for them.
- Be personal – use their name, their blog’s name and show you are not just spamming thousands of blogs with your email.
Read more tips like these on pitching other bloggers at 13 Tips on Asking other Bloggers for Links.
2. Social Messaging
An increasingly large source of traffic for my own blogs over the last year has been Twitter and other social messaging sites (like Friendfeed and Plurk). I use a mixture of automated tools and personalized tools to drive this traffic. On twitter I use TwitterFeed to tweet items from my blog’s RSS feed.
I find that this works best if your blogs feed is not the only thing that you’re putting up on Twitter. Add your own personal tweets, link to other people’s content, ask readers questions etc – the more you mix it up the more effective your own automated tweets will be accepted and clicked upon by your followers.
Don’t be afraid to use social messaging to promote posts that have good discussion on them also. I find that 12-24 hours after my post goes live can be a good time to shoot out another tweet if there’s a particularly hot conversation going on (in fact this can drive even more traffic than the first TwitterFeed automated tweet as it alerts your followers to a conversation rather than just content).
3. Social Bookmarking
This is something that I only do on selected posts – those that I think could do well on bookmarking sites like Digg or StumbleUpon.
I won’t go into great depth on this topic in this post as I recently wrote on how to get to the front page of Digg and have posted other tips at Using Social Media Sites to Grow Your Blog’s Traffic.
4. Internal Links
A great deal of blog promotion tips focus upon how to promote your blog on other people’s blogs and sites – but a great way to promote your blog post is to do it on your own blog.
One thing that I try to do with my best posts after I publish them is to think about where I could promote it on my own blog.
While it is at the top of my blog’s front page (the primary place to promote it) if you think hard you’re bound to find a few other posts in your archives that you could link to this new post. Find places where you’ve covered similar topics before and add your link as a ‘related reading’ link or even add a link to your new post within the content of an old post.
You might also want to add your new post to previously written ‘sneeze pages‘ or your sidebar if it’s a key post. Every link you add on your own blog to your new post potentially sends your current readers to your new post but also helps your blog with Search Engine Optimization (internal links count too).
If you have a newsletter list on your blog and you’ve written what you consider to be a key blog post – include a link to it in your next newsletter. Doing this will drive traffic but also signal to your readers that it’s a pillar post that you feel deserves their attention.
As with each of the points above – only do this with your best and most relevant posts. If you do it with every post reader will become desensitized to your recommended reading.
6. Other Blogs Comments Sections and Forums
NOTE: tread carefully with this one and only do it occasionally and in a way that adds value.
If you’ve got a post that you think relates strongly to something that another blogger has written about or that is the topic of discussion on a forum – leave a link to your own post.
The key to pulling this off without being labled a spammer is to leave a genuinely useful comment on the blog or forum. The comment itself should add value, be right on topic and contribute to the conversation. Then if you include a link introduce it with a ‘I’ve written more about this at….’ type comment rather than just a spammy call to action.
The other option is to email the other blogger first and ask if they’d mind if you leave the link. You might even find that the blogger will add the link to the post itself (don’t assume this).
7. Email Signatures
If you use a service like Feedburner they have a little widget that you can add to your email signature that highlights your latest blog posts. I’m not sure how effective that this is at driving traffic but the principle is a good one.
I know of a couple of bloggers who do the same thing by hand – they pick one or two of their latest key posts and add links to them as ‘featured posts’ in their email signatures. Many of us have links to our blog’s main URL in our email signatures but it strikes me that a link to a recent individual post could actually be more effective as it sends people to your very best content – food for thought.
8. Followup Posts
If you’ve just written a post that you feel is important a great technique to give it a second round of attention is to write a second post extending the first in some way.
This technique is very powerful at adding a sense of momentum to your blog.
‘Treat every post as an introduction to your next’. Here’s an image that describes this process taken from How to Keep Momentum Going by Building on Previous Posts.
9. Advertise Your Post
This one won’t be for everyone and is definitely only for those special posts that you write that you particularly want to drive traffic to – but why not put a little budget aside to promote a post with some advertising.
Key posts that have a high ‘usefulness factor’ to potential readers are a great way to find new loyal readers to a blog. Rather than advertising the front page of your blog a high quality post can actually be the perfect landing page for an advertisement.
There are a variety of ways to advertise a blog but one of my favorites is on StumbleUpon where you can actually start an organic rush of traffic to a good blog post with a relatively small budget. Learn more on how to do it at Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign for your Blog.
4 More Ways to Promote Key Blog Posts
The list could go on – here are a few more quick tips on how to promote individual blog posts:
- 10. Write a Press Release – some press release services don’t cost anything (or much) and they can be surprisingly effective with a little luck.
- 11. Pitch Mainstream Media - some posts will have mainstream media appeal. Shoot a paper, magazine, TV or Radio station an email – you might get lucky.
- 12. Article Marketing – while I’ve never done article marketing I know a few bloggers who swear by writing articles for ‘free article sites’ as a way to promote themselves. While they often include links back to their main blog in these articles I think there’s some strong arguments for doing it to individual posts.
- 13. Add a Comments Competition – if you want to increase reader interaction on a particular post run a comments competition where you give one commenter a prize. To increase the ‘quality’ and not just ‘quantity’ of comments offer a prize for the ‘best’ comment rather than a random comment.
How do You Promote Blog Posts?
I’ve covered 12 ways to promote an individual blog post above. What would you add?
How have you done it? What success have you had?
Keep in mind I’m not asking about how you promote your blog in a general sense – but how do you drive traffic to individual blog posts?
Read the Full Series
This post is part of a series on how to craft blog posts. It will be all the more powerful if taken in context of the full series which looks at 10 points in the posting process to pause and put extra effort. Start reading this series here.